Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Words from a True Feminist

I once thought that a feminist was a radical political activist that would obliterate gender differences all together if it was possible. Since then I’ve been seeing that feminism is not near as radical as my presuppositions. In reality, feminism champions the elimination of oppression from the world on the female half of our race. Feminism stands up against only some of the traditions of the past. Traditions such as the attitude of treating women as property, the hypocrisy of expecting women to practice fidelity and yet their husbands were not condemned for their lack of fidelity themselves, the refusal to allow women the same rights as men, the underpayment of women who hold the same job as men that get paid more, and the denial of leadership positions based on gender.

Some would tell you that the Bible and feminism are diametrically opposed; those people haven’t read the Bible, or at least not the Bible I know. Some cite the patriarchal system in the Old Testament, the issues of women having head coverings in worship in the New Testament, and even the purity laws in Leviticus. But when you step back and look at the whole picture—the way that God treats women—it’s evident that the Bible doesn’t esteem women as less than men. For instance, a woman named Deborah was a judge, or leader, at one point in Israel’s history. She was gifted and called by God to lead his nation spiritually and domestically, and when the time arose and a man refused to lead Israel in war she became Israel’s leader militarily and politically—AND SHE WAS MARRIED!

If you read Genesis carefully you’ll see that women were meant to be helpers to their men, not slaves to them. Since women are our helpers and not our slaves, we have a responsibility to them: to take care of them and treasure them. This means that we have a responsibility to be faithful to our wives, especially if we require faithfulness from them. This reciprocal relationship exists because we are equal in all of our distinctly human capacities. However, we are still different, embodying God’s image in two different ways: revealing two different sets of the characteristics of God. Women were created to be men’s counterparts, the other half; not subjects or unimportant additions. That makes me a feminist I suppose.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Life's Fullest Music

How do you live life to the fullest? It is the deep desire, whether they acknowledge it our not, of everyone to live their life to the greatest extent; to live so that they don’t miss out on anything good; to make a difference.

“Don’t die with the music still in you.”
- Oliver W. Holmes

As a musician, this quote really speaks to me; it tells me to get it all out there no matter what. The idea that Holmes was trying to convey is the goal of dying completely empty, with nothing left to give. By far, the greatest reason to live is love. Therefore, who could tell us about living life to the fullest better than Love Himself?

“I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
- Jesus Christ (John 10:10)

Jesus came “not to condemn the world, but to save the world,” and based on that he sets us free from sin to live life to the fullest abundance possible. Having that freedom means we should use it. Expend yourself; be like the Sea of Galilee, not the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee receives rain fall, and gives water to the Jordan River, it is both beautiful and clean; in contrast, the Dead Sea is extremely salty and murky because it receives in abundance but gives nothing. Make sure you give life all you have, or you will become stagnant and unfulfilled.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Heart of the Matter

The heart: one thing that will ever be misunderstood, and yet is always the most effective communicator. You probably already know that the matters of the heart are important, but just how important are they?

“Guard your heart with all diligence my son, for out of it springs the issues of life.” – Prov. 4:23

Even the most generic cliché’s like, “Follow your heart,” indicate this truth. Passion, love, truth, and courage are all matters of the heart. These are the things that drive us, make us who we are. We express ourselves through emotions that find their origin in the heart. What you put in your heart, what you hold dearest to you, will invariably be that which comes out. And this is the reason we must guard our hearts.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Guy They Want to Marry

Be the guy they want to marry. That has been my goal since I can’t remember how long. Of course only they can tell if I’ve succeeded, but success is not measured simply by results, it’s also measured by the effort and benefit you give and gain from it. Guys, I’ve come to realize that it’s time to step up and become the leaders we were born to be…to be men…to live in such a way that is pleasing to the Lord, and if you happen to incur the eye of a beautiful young lady along the way, Great! But honestly, that’s what I want: a girl whose eye is attracted to my whole hearted devotion to God and wants to become a part of that—after all, that’s what a helpmate is for. It’s all fine and dandy if you can manage the outward appearance of Godliness, but it’s the inner man and his integrity that show through in the end. This means that the greatest battle we fight is that with our own desires, we must fight the lust of our hearts.

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
(Proverbs 4:23)

I’ve often wondered what kind of girl I would marry, and the only thing I could come up with were generalities such as Godly, pure, and beautiful. When I was a child, I once declared to my mother that I would marry her when I grew up. Naturally, I didn’t understand all the implications of that at the time, but now that I look back on it I see a certain childlike wisdom in the idea: to marry a girl like your mother makes good sense. I have thought more than once that I would even like to marry a girl like my sister in some aspects, which is a reason for me to guard her innocence against the worldly-minded guys that are out there. But conversely, you girls would probably be well off looking for guys who are like your fathers and brothers (assuming that they’re Godly gentlemen). I’m not saying that we should limit ourselves to this, but it seems a good general guideline to follow.

Anyway, you may disregard everything I just said because I’m still an unmarried young man, but I think there is at least the possibility that I’m right, and as I said before, “Only they can tell.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Way Out

You ran into an impassible, invisible wall; it knocked the breath out of you, and you turn to find yourself cornered, hope of escape has all but vanished. The huge monster closes in: the only way out is a fight, but how?
How do you fight such an ominous beast? I'm sure you've been there; the place where you were trapped, you had no where to turn, nothing tangible to hold on to as you fell helplessly into the gaping abyss with seemingly no bottom. I've been there, with the ugly fiend of sin before me, secret but very real. All love, hope, joy, and delight were stolen away by the foreboding shadow looming before me. But in the midst of doubt and despair I caught a narrow glimpse of hope, the monster's weakness, it was found in the Bible.

"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word." Psalms 119:6

The question presented in this verse is a valid one: by asking how a man may cleanse his way, the psalmist asks how one may be rid of the great sin-monster. His answer is terse (short and to the point), and it is not a philosophical wonder; it is a simple yet powerful solution to a prevalent problem. Heed God's Word. We know already that God's Word is the Bible, and if I assume that the very first post on this blog is truely founded, it would be safe to supopose that heeding God is congruent with heeding His Word, afterall "All scripture is God-breathed." Give it a try and see; I'm sure you'll be surprised by the results. Read the Bible daily, meditate on it, and keep it fresh on your mind throughout the day. God can help you defeat the secret sins that tear you apart.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

True Greatness

What's the meaning of greatness? Or even, how do you achieve it? It is really a simple problem to solve, but not always the easiest to execute. According to Jesus, the only perfect man to ever live--and therefore the greatest, greatness is putting others first:
"Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives
Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great."
(Luke 9:48)
"If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and
servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
"Therefore whoever humbles himself as this
little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:4)
At first this comes across as anti-self, but a closer look at the meaning yields a description of anti-selfish. What Jesus meant was to put other's needs before our own so that our focus is not entirely on ourselves; he did not mean for us to neglect our own needs entirely. Jesus modeled this for us: He washed the disciples' feet showing the humility that is greatness, but the ultimate example is His sacrifice for His friends (a.k.a. "us") giving up everything he had to meet our need for salvation, knowing, however, that His Father would take care of His needs. Like I said before it's one of the simplest things to do in life, but it also happens to be the hardest. Strive for greatness; it's worth it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Leader's Vision

"Leadership is influence" according to Randy Sims in His book The Greatest Among You. Everyone has influence, whether it's on many or a few, on public opinion or your younger sibling, there is always some measure of influence that you posses; it is unavoidable. You decide how you will influence people every day, for good or evil, wise or foolish. Even if the decision is unconscious, and you never thought of it that way before. Your decisions arise from a desire to "see" something happen: you make it happen. This desire is called Vision. All Leaders have some vision no matter where it came from or what it consists of. If they didn't have vision they wouldn't have a motivation to influence, and therefore wouldn't be leaders.
Vision is the ability to see what's not there, but not all leaders are gifted visionaries. A truly gifted visionary can see what's not there and form a plan to make it happen, often times when others would blow it off as an absurd whim and make nothing of it. Visionaries will pursue their goal by trying to convince the skeptical that their vision is plausible. However, visionaries do not always posses the resources or capacity to accomplish their goals and sometimes get discouraged from their visions by the rejection of skeptics.
Not all visions are of God or worthy of pursuit. But the best way to tell whether something is worth your time and effort is the Philippians 4:8 test:
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things."
If the vision matches up with this verse then you should pursue it.
A visionary possesses his gift from God, and should therefore pursue his visions as his calling to bring glory to God. To give up would not be right. First of all, if you're a visionary by this description: DON'T GIVE UP! Pursue those visions! I remind you of the possibility of the impossible in Philippians 4:13. Secondly to those of you who are not visionaries: do not be skeptics, but encouragers who are willing to provide the means for the execution of goals. Apply the Phil. 4:8 test to a vision and determine if you should join the effort and adopt it as your own; but "whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" (Ec. 9:10) and "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)

-Jonathan A. Bryce-<><

Comment Question: What are your visions?